When Patience Runs Out-How To See Things From Your Exceptional Child’s View

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So lately I have not been the most patient of Moms. I hear the little voice in my head telling me to give Michael a break when he is anxious, going slow, testing the boundaries. He is dealing with his autism and new diabetes diagnosis and is doing very well, all things considered. Now this does not mean he is not trying to get away with not listening etc as he was doing last year, but still, he deserves a break for his courage and positive attitude. So why am I short tempered and annoyed sometimes in the presence of anxiety and defiance combined? I guess because I too am going through some growing pains and have my good and bad moments when I can handle anxiety and defiance better than at other times.

Some days are a breeze, and other days when I am greeted by worries about what will happen in four days and let’s solve the problem right now the second I get off the bus, I’m not so good. Yesterday afternoon was one of those afternoons. I was tired. It had been a busy day at work. The house was a mess. And Michael got off the bus and wanted to know how things would work when we started going to church as a family. He wanted to know before snack, before washing up for snack, and right off the bus. I made the mistake of bringing up a karate class that would conflict with our previous mass time and didn’t he want to try that class before deciding it was not for him? No, he said he did not want to go back. This is the second activity he has quit this month. The first one we understood. There were no kids his age, the ones that were there were more advanced. But for the karate class which is also adapted, he didn’t even want to give it a chance. After fifteen minutes he announced he was ready to leave. Dad did give him that option and regrets it. His reason? It was too noisy, it was boring.  He didn’t like the stretching and warmup. Why can’t he do what he wants? I saw red. I told him you have to wait and see. You need to follow the direction of the coaches or teachers. It can’t always be one on one doing what you want.

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Then, I started feeling sorry for myself. If more activities did not work, I would be looking at having him bored at home wanting to go on walks, to parks, and malls all weekend long.  When would I get all the work done in the house? What about my down time? He needs to be busy, but makes excuses when things don’t go exactly his way. He even admitted. I don’t need to try. You did not pay as they are giving me a chance to see if I like it. We’ve been had. Right at that moment I knew it was not muscle weakness from his diabetes, but his attitude that was causing him to give up. I announced I needed to be alone and catch up on housework and we would not be trying new activities until he changed his quitting attitude. Then I retreated to the bedroom to  fold clothes and cry.  I felt so overwhelmed as a Mom. Dad and I are trying so hard to introduce him to new things, but as he gets older he is afraid to venture into the unknown. He is not afraid to use his autism as a crutch which we are preventing him from doing, and also I’m worried he will do the same with diabetes. What can we do? I realized first of all, I needed to get my patience back for my child. I was exhausted myself having gone to bed late two nights in a row. I could not wave a magic wand and fix his anxiety like when he was a a baby. We needed to both sit down and talk when we were calm. Later on that evening, we did and we had a nice conversation. I realized I had to be firm and calm about trying new things and understanding Michael’s limits. He also had to come out of his shell and try new things. We would need to meet in the middle slowly.

Exceptional Parents, have you come to an impasse with your Exceptional Child and their limits, testing and fears? How did you climb over that mountain? Chances are, the first thing you did or will do, is realize your own limits in that moment. Be honest with your child that this is something you need to think about. Then, when you are both calm and able to see the other one’s side, see how you can compromise and each have a voice. Respect goes a long way. And remember the love you have for your child. That will also take you a long way towards finding a solution. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

 

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Control and Choice- How Exceptional Families Can Find the Balance In Family Life

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Though Michael’s control issues and aggression have gotten a lot better, Michael is still struggling for control with us. Dad and I are in the same boat as him. We are all trying to find our middle ground with staying calm, allowing choice where they can be, flexibility where it can be, and accepting things even if we don’t like them. As parents, we know that the more we yell or stress, the more our kids will react, all kids. Still, as parents it is perfectly natural to overreact when our kids push our buttons. We get angry because we know we’ve been had by little people who know us so well. Still, it just means we need to go back to the drawing board and find new ways to communicate what we expect from our children, new ways to handle when they don’t listen, and new ways to control our stress levels.

What’s been happening with Michael lately has been the need to control his environment even more. This is causing a lot of stress for all of us, but with the introduction of a schedule where we all will know what to expect, and consequences in place for actions when he doesn’t listen, I am hoping this will send the message home on what will not be tolerated. Michael is always sorry afterwards for the fights and harsh words, but we are trying to be clear and consistent in what we expect while giving him some input. That is all parents can do. We are reminding him that we are in charge and make the rules.  He may have some say in how we organize some family activities and how the evening plays out, but Mom and Dad have to set things like dinner time, homework time and bedtime. These are not easy concepts, but slowly we are getting through. We also use a rewards system with Michael getting a prized object if he is using his strategies to calm down. He is halfway to earning a Star Wars mug which he really wants.

In the end, every parent deep down knows what works for their child. Above all, it is important to remember, and we all forget this as parents, that when our children are acting out, it is due to craving attention, feeling lost and scared, and trying to regain control in a world where they feel powerless. The trick is to give them control where they can exercise it in a healthy way, and not giving them more than they could or should handle. It is all about balance. Once Exceptional families can sit down and talk about the system that works well for their families, then they will begin to slowly see positive changes.

Exceptional Parents, are you handling challenging behaviors right now with your child still adjusting to the school year? Are you finding your old strategies to stay calm are not working? It could be time for an overall of changes for everyone. Think about simplifying explanations, being consistent in what you expect from your child and letting them know that, and making sure you are taking care of your stress levels so you know your breaking point. In time, you will find the balance to more harmony in your family. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Confronting Your Own Exceptional Fears for Your Child’s Diagnosis While Being Strong For Them

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The other day as I let out some more therapeutic tears, it occurred to me how though Michael’s new diagnosis has been hard on our family, it is also making Dad and I open up to one another and ourselves  about our own personal fears. My two biggest fears prior to diabetes coming in our life, was having to raise a child with a physical health issue. I always  marveled at my friends whose children were on medication and had physical as well as psychological challenges that required round the clock care. I often joked that I could never keep track on charts with numbers and hated the idea of giving needles or medication. I’m a writer and a words person, not a nurse. When Dad used to chart his food for the day when he was losing weight, I was amazed at how he had spreadsheets and logged it all. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that, I thought. Well, guess what Type 1 Diabetes requires daily of the individual affected and their caretakers. You got it. Spreadsheets to log carbohydrates and keep track of sugar, as well as many rounds of injections with needles to make sugar blood sugar is normal and that the insulin we are injecting is in doing its job. I almost laughed when I saw what would be required of Michael and me. See, he hates needles and numbers too. Yet both of us are becoming incredibly prolific with both. Michael is so brave with the injections, even when he is not comfortable doing injections, he has not refused to have them, and does it well. He is way better than I would have been with this diagnosis. He especially likes if his blood sugar is low at night. This means he has to have a little snack before we test the blood glucose number and give him his insulin so he gets to stay up later.  He makes us laugh even though we worry about his body with each high and low, a normal thing at the beginning of diabetes from what I have been reading. It is the same thing with autism. All Exceptional parents know this.

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I am incredibly overwhelmed with doctors’ appointments, diabetes and autism wise. We are working with an educator to help him with self-regulation and control, as now even more stress has entered his life and ours with the diabetes diagnosis. We are getting there though. All of us. I finally got back to self-care on Friday night. I want to my local Hamamm and then Saturday took a long, hot, bath complete with candles burning and soft meditation music  playing. Sunday morning I awoke for the first time since August 30th, the day Michael was diagnosed. I have had many beautiful happy moments since then, of course. I love my job. I love writing. I have talked to many friends and of course family who have been nothing but supportive. But I felt like I was not really touching the ground. The last time I felt this was long ago when Michael was first diagnosed with autism. The shock takes a while to adjust to, even after you have accepted a diagnosis. For me, it has been like I am watching myself going through the motions of life. I also have not really been able to relax. Where this has been most visible was in my meditation and yoga. It helped a little bit with being present centered, but again I felt like I was watching me in a detached way, and not the way I wanted to be detached. I knew once I brought self-care regularly back into my life my soul would heal along with my body. Yesterday was the first complete day that I felt healed and ready to really resume and tackle all the stuff that goes with coming to terms with another diagnosis, while continuing to help Michael with his other challenges.

Exceptional Parents, what scares you about your child’s diagnosis and why? Do you feel you can’t or don’t want to do it? It’s perfectly normal. For the last few weeks even though I know I would never act on it, I’ve had a reoccurring fantasy of driving off to the airport with a one-way ticket somewhere. This is the normal reaction to a highly stressful situation in the beginning. As you develop good self-care and coping mechanisms though, (or put old ones back in place), you will be able to face  your child’s (and your) challenges with calm, grace, and maybe even a laugh or two. I found myself laughing this weekend and making jokes for the first time in a month. That’s how I know I am doing better. Take care of yourself. Do little things to recharge your batteries. Then you’ll see that you’ll be better able to face the stresses ahead. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

7 Ways to Handle Exceptional Anger-Yours and Your Child’s

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In every parent/child relationship there will be moments of anger, frustration and loss of control. I know this all too well. Put a little bit of pressure with school being back on, add in poor coping mechanisms with stress, and stir in some unexpected life circumstances, and anger can quickly escalate, both yours and your child’s. How can we as parents set a good example for our exceptional kids? First of all, it’s important that as parents we look to what methods we are using to reign in our anger and frustration. If we don’t have good coping mechanisms, we won’t be able to show our children how to handle their frustrations. And sometimes even if we do handle anger well ourselves, until our kids find what works for them they will struggle with handling their inner emotions.

What works for most people? It’s basically a combination of common sense techniques along with what fits their particular personality type and how their body metabolizes stress. Here are 7 ways to handle Exceptional Family Anger:

  1.  Counting up or down from 10 or more: Counting has a calming and distracting effect on the brain. This is a good way to help our body and brain handle stress in a productive way.
  2. Walking: Walking inside or outside can calm the brain. By being in motion it gives the body something to do and stretches those muscles that are feeling so stressed.
  3. Have a sheet of tips that work for you: This is especially helpful for your Exceptional Child to have a list of strategies, but even for Mom or Dad, having their strategies written on a cue card which can be taken everywhere can help avoid that memory blank that occurs when we forget what to do.
  4. Talk about your feelings: This again works for all ages. Knowing that you have someone compassionate to vent and unload on, will make a big difference in how you handle anger and the stress it produces.
  5. Deep breathing, yoga or meditation: There are lots of short guided meditations for adults that can really help with stress relief. There are great yoga and meditation mantras that can help kids handle stress better too. If the family can do it together, that’s even better!
  6. Cool/Calm down corners for all: It’s great if when Mom and Dad get upset, they model that they go calm/cool down in a room, corner or somewhere not too far away. If they cannot physically leave child, the cool/calm down corner can be in one’s head. A parent can picture a relaxing scene where they could retreat to and teach their child to do the same.
  7. Seek help to handle our emotions: There is never any shame to seek help to learn to handle our feelings, no matter what age we are. We should never be afraid to talk to our children about how handling anger properly can be a family affair. Sometimes attending therapy together is necessary, other times individually then applying what the therapist says is best suited for us and for our child to do.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your anger? How does your Exceptional Child handle their anger? Are you using techniques that truly work for your character or that of your child’s? There are many different techniques that work for different people. The trick is knowing your personality and which one is the right fit for you, just as you will get to know which fit is right for your child. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Recharging Parenting Batteries Builds Patience And Love For Your Child

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So today when I was sitting down after the bus left before I started getting ready for my work day, I realized why lately I have been feeling overwhelmed by motherhood and spending time with Michael. Obviously, our family has been adjusting to all the new things we have had to adjust to, but though I knew it in my mind, I had not really thought of why I was stressed. Then it occurred to me. Oh yes, self-care during this time has been non-existent for me. The more stress we feel as parents, the more we need to take time to nurture ourselves. However, most of us do the exact opposite. We tend to burn the candle at both ends trying to please children, partners, work, family, everyone but ourselves. And guess what happens Moms? It is us who feels the burnout, the resentment, the tears and stress. It is our bodies that fall apart, our minds that explode, our souls that feel depleted. Then, no one wins.

Watching Michael working with a new Educator today who was teaching him about his anger and anxiety building and how he needed to recognize it in terms of numbers, made me realize when was the last time I did this? When was the last time many of us busy parents did this? It’s ok if we didn’t prioritize it in the past. But now that we know, we need to start putting ourselves at the tops of the priority list-right up there with other family members who we care about. Why? Well, because if we burn out, what then? Who will be our child’s best advocate, cheerleader, and caretaker? Also, what kind of life would we lead? Yes, you Mom! You deserve to have fun too. You deserve to laugh, play, experience joy. Actually, not deserve but need to experience this to feel fully alive and teach your child how to feel fully alive. Why? Because that is part of what the Universe has in store for you.

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I am a big believer in the Universe or God having a plan for you, your child, all of us. This plan means that we will experience ups and downs on our life journey and that we must be strong to fulfill our destiny and help our child fulfill theirs. Life is nothing if not an adventure, and if having an Exceptional Child has taught me nothing else, it is that this child has helped me see the adventure and the beauty of the journey is even more important than the destination. For all Michael’s anxiety and stress, he will say things once in awhile that helps me open my mind and heart to how I am growing or need to grow. I know I do the same for him. He makes me laugh during the challenges most of the time, and even when I cry, tears are good. They help strengthen me, make me see where I need to heal, and help me help other parents and children on their path to healing. We all have a job and a vocation in this world. For some, the two are combined. For others they are two different things. Still, regardless we are just as much  here to help others as be helped ourselves. That is the human mission and condition set in practice.

Exceptional Parents, are you taking care of you? Are you scheduling in time to unwind and explore who you are as a parent and person? If not, it’s time to start. Your child will thank you. Your family and friends will thank you. And most importantly, you will feel so recharged that you will not be able to think anything negative no matter what happens. Your life will unfold as you practice self-care and teach the same skills to your child. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

7 Ways to Be Gentle With Yourself And Your Child When Handling Their Diagnosis

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I feel so angry right now, angry and full of self-pity. It is not a fun stage, not in the least. I am feeling angry that once again our life has been thrown up in the air and our whole family has to deal with another big diagnosis- Type 1 diabetes. Lots has started making sense. I am seeing patterns, like blood sugar highs and lows and temper tantrums in between that Michael has had. I am also seeing how healthier eating will now definitively be a part of our family life. We have no choice unless we want to watch Michael get sick and suffer again. But I also keep reminding myself daily that diabetes is not happening to me. It is happening to Michael. It is his burden to bear, not mine. I am merely an instrument to teach him how to shoulder this new challenge appropriately, as optimistically as he can, and learn how the anxiety management strategies he learned last year can be put into practice. This is not as easy as it seems. I have good days being an Exceptional Mom and not so good days. I have days when crying is what gets me through. Others where I laugh and can see the lighter side of things. More and more what this latest challenge is showing is that life is all about balance. It is about learning how to live by eating right, exercising, treating others with respect ,and living in harmony with the world. This can only be done when you are living in harmony with yourself.

Forgiving ourselves is also at the top of the list. Things don’t happen to us because we did something bad. That was something I thought when I was a kid. Things happen for us, not to us. I am really trying to embody this now in my life and teach it Michael. Our family was struggling for a few years with nutrition and food. Dad and I have both struggled, as do many married couples, with communication as parents and as a couple. Well guess what? When your kid has diabetes all you do is communicate. You have no choice unless you want your kid to get sick. For a lot of couples, when children get sick it destroys the relationship. In our case, when Michael has struggled he has grown stronger, and Dad and I have grown stronger as a couple. With autism, we were brought closer together eventually, though there were lots of ups and downs on the way. I feel the same thing happening with Michael’s diabetes. We are all growing stronger though there are definitively moments of weakness that we are all acknowledging. You can’t grow if you don’t acknowledge and live through pain. It gets easier with time.

In going through this latest challenge, I have been combing my brain remembering how I handled coming to terms with Michael’s autism seven years ago. I am remembering how I went from blame, anger and fear to acceptance, forgiveness and happiness again. I realize that a huge portion of it was due to self-care and compassion towards myself and my child. Here are 7 ways  that self-compassion and care to yourself and your child can get you and your child through acceptance of the diagnosis:

  1. Don’t fight the 7 stages: First things first, do not fight going through all the stages to acceptance no matter how long it takes. For some it is faster than others, but getting to the end will happen just like in any race.
  2. Make time to laugh and unwind: This is a tricky one especially if you are in the anger or denial stage, but laughter is so important. Watch a funny movie. Read a funny book. Spend time with your partner or a friend that makes you laugh. It will restore your soul as your mind comes to terms with something major.
  3. Remember your child is still your child-not a diagnosis: It is natural you will be focusing on helping your child handle their new diagnosis. However, remember that this diagnosis is not them, just a part of them.
  4. Do something for you alone that brings joy: What brings you joy? Is it going for a massage, a workout, a lunch? Is it meeting a friend, going for a walk, curling up with a good book? Do what makes you feel alive to remember even during difficult times you are still alive, inside and out.
  5. Enjoy doing things with your child that you did before: Don’t let a diagnosis stop you from playing with your child in a fun way, enjoying their quirkiness and doing things like going to the park, baking, watching tv together. They are still your children and you need not change how your treat them.
  6. Remind your child (if they are old enough) that their diagnosis is not THEM: If a child is old enough to understand, remind them not to use their diagnosis as an excuse not to live a full life. If they are babies, just don’t let their challenges mentally or physically mean they can’t strive for perfection, or what perfection will be for them. We all have a gift and something beautiful to offer the world.
  7. Seek support as a parent and for your child if they need it: Don’t be afraid to seek support for yourself and for your child if you both need it in dealing with a new diagnosis. Find other parents to talk to and playgroups for your child to attend where they could meet other children like them and form relationships. This is also important for healing purposes.

 

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled accepting your child’s diagnosis? Where are you now in the process? It’s ok if you are stuck at a stage. In time, you will move to the next one and may bounce around for a while before acceptance. Your child too will be struggling. Be patient with them. Be patient with yourself. You will both find your way if you take it one day at a time and remain kind and compassionate towards yourself and your child. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

How To Face Your Fears Head On-Look to Your Exceptional Child

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Every parent of every child has had moments of regret. They have had moments when they over reacted to something their child said or did, or someone else said or did. They have failed their child in some way due to not knowing what exactly they needed to do in that moment. Every parent out there has also been a less than stellar example of how to stay calm in a moment of stress or after a day of stress. Sometimes several things bring out our demons. Sometimes it is one last straw that brings us down. No matter, the result is an angry screaming adult who is out of control, when our child needs us to model control. But what ends up happening is that our demons are not being handled daily, hourly and the stress builds up. How can we fix something like this? It’s called daily changes, small daily changes, where we acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and where we need help to control anxiety, anger, fear or all of the above.

I have been having a rough and stressful month intersperced with good moments. Self-care has not been too prioritized and my body and mind have been feeling it. That was why the other day when Michael screamed at me for something irrelevant that I lost it. I was tired after a long day at work. The kitchen was a mess. I had come home to a note from a neighbor complaining about how godawful our yard looks, and I just saw red in all capitals. What was the universe trying to teach me, I remember  asking myself. The answer took a while to come. When it finally did, I realized. The universe was trying to remind me to be more patient with myself, with others. And how would I do this? It would be by practicing gratitude for the blessings I had. Michael for all his anxiety and stressing is a kid who lives in the moment mostly. He loves people. He loves Google Maps. He loves music. He loves cooking and baking. He enjoys life. He has even found ways to make his daily injections tolerable. He asks to have the radio on and was bragging to his grandfather about how he gets to choose the injection site each time. Wow! As much  as I sometimes say my kid is too over the top (what did I expect, I was like that too as a child), I admire how he faces fear like a champion, stares it down, pulls up his undies and gets on with life. Whenever I have a moment of self-pity that comes up, I remind myself what Michael faces daily, hourly and weekly. It’s ok to give in for a little bit. But then it is time to get on with the business of living.

Our demons can also tell us interesting things about ourselves. For instance my frustration when Michael screams is about not having control over my kid. Control is one of my big hangups and one I am learning to relinquish. Therapy, lots of past and continued soul and spiritual work is helping me do that. I also don’t like when people don’t approve of me or criticize me. I’ve gotten better at reminding myself that as long as I am ok with me, it does not matter what others think, but doing it is something different. I have to take baby steps in that direction, but have come very far from where I was ten years ago.

Exceptional Parents, how do you face your inner fears? Have you ever thought to look to your exceptional child and how well they move in the world in spite of the many challenges they face? You can do it. You can overcome your fears about yourself, about parenting, and about what others think. Look to how strong your child is. You have had something to do with that. Transfer that energy back to you, set the example for your child and then the two of you can move forward with confidence. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Testing, Testing and More Testing- 5 Ways To Learn To Read Your Exceptional Child’s Anxiety

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So all things considered, back  to school has gone well. Michael continues to amaze me with how well he is adjusting to his diabetes diagnosis. He takes the injections like a champ, is handling changes to food regimes well .The only thing is that he continues to test me Mom to the utmost. This happens usually during the injection process, but in other small areas too. He is sensing my stress- with my work, with him, with finding time for my personal and professional writing, for my lack of me time. All of it. Our kids are so psychic at sensing when we are exhausted, at wits’ ends, and overwhelmed by life and they test us more. Today, I made a concerted effort to stay calmer and it worked for most of the afternoon and evening. There was one big fight, and then it was finished. What is Michael teaching me? He is teaching me to pace myself. I have been meditating as usual in the am, but due to work, Michael’s injection schedule and my own nerves, the quality has not been the same. How can I fix this? I know now. It is by reprioritizing how to practice my own self-care, inside and out. All kids respond to an adult who is present centered or not. We owe it to them to be comfortable in our own skin. So here are the 5 ways I learned to handle those “testing” moments:

  1. Do not erupt with anger: Man, this is hard. It feels good to let the anger out, but then you have to face the long hard fact of why you are yelling as loud or louder thann your child. You are not taking care of “you.” I learn every fall that I need to get back in the routine of ‘Self Care” and that is what I will do.
  2. See it from your child’s viewpoint: A lot of times we end up feeling sorry for ourselves as parents and caretakers that we forget to see things through  our children’s eyes. They are scared, nervous, overwhelmed too. We need to see the WHY behind the behavior instead of just the behavior.
  3. Is your child scared?: I have noticed that Michael will be harsher with me when he is scared. I am the “safe haven”. In reacting negatively to me it is his way to see what will I do. I have learned to respond consistently with a consequence for negative behavior and positive behavior.  This has helped how he has reacted.
  4. Are they upset at school?: I learned this the hard way last year, when Michael was bottling a lot of anger and stress at school and bringing it home. I began trying to teach him how to learn to self-regulate and handle his emotions. It was not easy, but at least we both know where to go.
  5. Are you in control of your parental emotions?: When was the last time you had a good cry, laugh or time away to recharge in some way? If you can’t remember, Mom/Dad it’s time you had your “getaway” to recharge. For my part I have been OVERREACTING more than necessary to things this week due to extra stress I have been carrying around. I realize I need to exercise and get some time alone to have fun. That means no housecleaning or working parents. This is hard for all of us to do, but if we are successful at recharging and showing our child a good example of anger management, we need to do it.

Exceptional Parents, how are you handling “testing” behaviors from your Exceptional Child? Do you over or under react? Are you taking care of “you” at the same time as taking care of your child? If you have not been successful at self-care, don’t worry. Tomorrow is another day. Take out your day planner. Make sure to pencil in “you time” as well as time with friends and family. Also, cut your child some slack.  It is not easy living in the world with the issues they face every day. You are both exceptional for a reason. Take a deep breath, and know that from every experience good and bad, lessons will be learned. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

 

Seeing Your Exceptional Child For Who They Are – Not What They Have

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It’s been a long week adjusting to Michael’s new diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes along with his anxiety associated with autism. Michael has actually been doing better than Dad and I. This does not surprise me. He is a strong kid and a smart one too. He also adjusts well to routine and Type 1 Diabetes is nothing if not getting used to a new routine of 4 injections a day, having them rotated in certain spots, and a whole new way of looking at food and portion control. The last one has been hard for Michael (and us) to start adjusting to, but we are getting  there slowly as a family. Why Dad and I are struggling more really, is due to the fact that the doctors’ appointments, papers and charts to fill out, and everything else to be learned about Type 1 Diabetes rests with us. This is as it should, of course. Michael is just a kid. He also has the hardest part in all of this. After all, Dad and I are not the diabetics.  He is. He is the one the most affected by it, just like by his autism.  It has changed his life even more than ours, but still, ours has been irrevocably turned upside down. I don’t look at food the same. Neither does Dad.  This is both good and bad. However, the life we had two weeks ago of carefree eating at whatever time we wanted (within reason with a child of course), is gone too. I am still mourning that as is Dad probably.  We will be bouncing in between those 7 stages of grief for a while I know. It was the same with autism. Ours lives became all about it for awhile, until we learned it was just a part of who we are as a family, not the entire piece. The same will happen with diabetes. The adjustment will take time though.

It is also very different to be mourning my pre-diabetic child from when I mourned my pre-autism child. With diabetes we were immediately given a team, a handbook, and injections to help Michael heal and control his symptoms. With autism, well, there is no real handbook. The team comes much later, as do what therapies to pursue or not. I have been told it has been getting better for new families. Parents have greater access to information and get their child diagnosed, though it still costs a lot of money as public resources are limited. The grieving for this diagnosis is proceeding differently for me too. I will have my crying spells here and there. With autism, it pretty much all came out at once. After that, it was just fear and worry about the future. That has gotten better with time as I see how far Michael has come.

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So Dad and I are pacing ourselves, keeping Michael’s behaviors in check due to the wonderful help we had last year, and reminding ourselves that Michael is not one hundred percent defined by his two diagnoses of autism and diabetes. He is  defined, however, by the kind of person we raise him to be. He is also defined as a sweet, loving, and capable little boy who will live a full life as long as we show him he can by how we live our lives fully as a family alongside him. Letting go of fear completely is still too new for me and Dad. But each day we get closer to becoming more fearless and optimistic. In time we will help Michael manage diabetes as well as he manages some of the more challenging aspects of his autism.

Exceptional Parents,  do you sometimes make the mistake of seeing your child as their diagnosis or diagnoses? This is very normal as the caregivers. However, remember your child must learn to live in the world as their individual self, not as a collection of symptoms and challenges. Tell them the truth. Their diagnosis or diagnoses do define some of who they are, but not all of it. Their spirit, their humor, their joy, and the way they approach life, will be what determines their success. The same goes for you as their Exceptional Parent. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

Exceptional Times Two-Coming To Terms With Another Diagnosis

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” We are going to run a blood test and I want to prepare you. It is probably Type 1 Diabetes.”

These were the words Dad and I heard last Wednesday morning come out of the emergency doctor on call’s mouth at our local children’s hospital, a doctor who we knew from our autism family life. He used to teach years ago for an adapted program at a pool Michael went too. Thank God. I remember thinking. We will be ok. He knows how to handle kids with autism and will figure out what is wrong,  I remember thinking. It’s good they are checking about diabetes to “rule this out.” How could Michael’s complaint of a sore throat, low energy an excruciating stomach pain with no bowel movement for many days means diabetes? We would obviously still learn about all the classic signs we had missed over the summer that pointed to that fateful Wednesday evening when Michael woke up in so much pain and nothing could help. But I also tried to prepare myself for it as best as I could. I knew one thing about diabetes. It was lifelong, but he would be able to live with treatment.

The next hour was a whirlwind of confirmation that Michael indeed had Type 1 Diabetes and that his body was in a classic shock state where it reaches when diabetes is poorly treated (or is unknown to the parents as in our case) called “Diabetic Ketoacidosis.” It is apparently the classic way kids are brought into emergency wards by parents who do not know that they have diabetes, but are presenting with labored breathing, fatigue, vomiting, and extreme abdominal pain. Michael had all of the above that had been progressing over the course of August. We put everything down to tiredness, a virus and nerves for school coming. When he started breathing heavily telling us it helped the pain in his stomach, we assumed it was severe constipation. He had not had a movement in almost 5 days, so we tried remedies for that as well as giving him Children’s Tylenol. When it all failed, Dad called an emergency health line where a nurse told us to go immediately to a nearby hospital. And there we were. Only after we realized that had we waited a little longer to act, Michael could have lost consciousness and possibly gone into a coma.

The next four days passed in a whirl of Michael’s body healing from the acid buildup in his blood, regaining his strength, and Dad and I coming to terms with the diabetes as well as learning about our new team to add to Michael’s existing autism team. Our new team that would help us adjust to caring for and teaching a child with diabetes how to live a healthy life. Everyone was amazing, and we have had our ups and downs as a family, but we are getting there. Michael was discharged over the weekend, and Dad and I cannot believe how like his old self he is. The Michael we saw over the summer was quieter, slept a lot more, and was not as talkative. I blamed it on “pre teen hormones” and growing up. His color in his face is back, and he is testing us by being his spirited self. This is all welcome as we see that he is strong and healthy. If anything this experience has taught me and Dad, how important being vigilant to your child’s health is. Trust your parenting gut. I wish we had known sooner, but are glad now that Michael is learning how to manage this disease and live healthier. I am grateful to have everyone home and healthy. As a family, we are looking at the positive of this experience and will be eating healthier too overall.

Exceptional Parents, what challenges and possible other diagnoses are you facing with your child? Who else has been added to your child’s “team” and are you wondering how you will manage it? It’s hard. There will be days you rail against the fates, and days that you are stronger. Remember, lean on close family and friends who offer support. Seek out parent support groups online and in person. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and take care of yourself. You are an Exceptional Parent, and only by  taking care of you, can you help your Exceptional Child thrive and stay strong in the face of new challenges. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.